This new partnership between Epic and Google Cloud will allow hospitals using the Epic electronic health records (EHR) technology to store records in the cloud and benefit from specialized tools. Announced in November at the HLTH 2022 Conference, this greatly expands the options that healthcare organizations have when managing their records in a cloud environment.
Although Google has not yet fully released specifics, they share that—besides offering a secure environment for EHR—they’re definitely offering new tools. These tools will create more efficiencies, allowing healthcare facilities to optimize patient care.
Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey will be the first healthcare system to benefit from this migration and cutting-edge partnership. They anticipate benefiting from a simpler environment for IT professionals and developers. This will free up time, then, to focus on additional creative ways to enhance patient care and accelerate digital transformation.
The healthcare system will also have access to artificial intelligence and advanced analytics. Hackensack Meridian Health will have its AI data for natural language processing in the Google Cloud, allowing people from Hackensack to ask questions and more rapidly receive answers.
In 2020, Epic announced that it no longer planned to pursue any more integration with Google, reversing that decision at the HLTH 2022 Conference. Epic had temporarily put its attention on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure when seeking a cloud-based partner to store medical records.
The Moment is Now
As the global director of Google Cloud shares, “the moment for healthcare’s transformation has now arrived.” This transformation cannot be accomplished as a solo or siloed effort; it must be achieved through true partnerships. To that end, Google plans to implement “accelerators” to address industry pain points, and the first three in the Google Cloud Healthcare Data Engine will include:
- Strengthening health equity: This will focus on overcoming healthcare obstacles, such as economic and social factors, and “eliminate preventable health disparities.” They will provide tools to leverage social determinants of health datasets, empowering healthcare organizations to connect patients with what they need. This will also support analytics and comprehensive yet easy-to-use dashboards.
- Reinventing operations and experiences: This focuses on patient flow to give healthcare facilities insights into bottlenecks among other areas. As bottlenecks are addressed, patients should experience shorter waiting times, leading to a reduction in patient frustration and saving time and money for healthcare organizations. This data can also be used to address employee burnout and more.
- Improving quality of care: To deliver value-based care (as an alternative to fee for services reimbursements), the HDE accelerator will help healthcare organizations to access relevant data and identify key metrics.
More About Google Cloud HDE
HDE extends the capabilities of the Healthcare API, making it faster and easier to access information. How? “By enabling an interoperable, longitudinal record of patient data.” This technology can map 90 percent-plus of HL7vs messages into FHIR, which is an emerging standard for the electronic exchange of healthcare data. This allows healthcare organizations to make better real-time decisions while lowering the total cost of ownership in the pursuit of enhanced patient care.
Healthcare data will be securely protected in HDE with multi-layered, built-in protections. HDE uses a configuration that extends reliability, compliance, and backup redundancies in the cloud, dovetailing with HIPAA and HITRUST best practices. This truly is a scalable solution, allowing hospitals and healthcare facilities to scale as quickly as needed—and as extensively as desired and required.
Implementing Epic EHR
If your healthcare organization is looking to switch to Epic for your EHR system—to take advantage of its robust capabilities and ultimately benefit from this Google partnership—there may be a need to supplement your staff with professional Epic consultants to augment bandwidth and skill sets during your Epic implementation.
The term “Epic consultants” is a broad one, describing professionals with in-depth knowledge of this brand of EHR software. Often, the consultants specialize in very specific aspects of the intricate Epic application. This can range from EHR implementation to integration and optimization, and from training and/or process documentation to data cleaning and migration, go-live cutover specialties, post-live support, and more.
To ensure you have the proper amount of human talent with the specialties you require, it’s important to have an understanding of your in-house resources: their experience, their niches, and their bandwidth. Then you can balance your headcount with specialized outsourcing.
Typically, it’s not practical to maintain in-house IT staff with all the skill sets you’ll need for an Epic implementation, for example, or another similar initiative. When an organization tries to manage a project outside the normal scope of work with in-house employees, this can lead to significant inefficiencies. The organization may run into roadblocks and end up spending far more time and money than necessary.
It’s crucial to continually evolve, too, as technology, regulation, and other aspects of the healthcare industry change. The partnership between Epic EHR and Google Cloud is a perfect example. Although opportunities associated with this partnership are not yet generally available to healthcare organizations, they will be in the near future. So, it’s important to prepare for how you’ll take advantage of the benefits; this can include augmenting your in-house IT team with Epic consultants who will be keeping up with the latest iterations of the partnership; when they’ll be available for your healthcare system; and how you can best use the Google Cloud HDE tools.
Epic Consultants: Outstanding HealthTECH Network
For more than twenty years, HealthTECH Resources has provided top-quality staff augmentation services across the United States. We focus only on healtcare IT, and EHR/EMR consulting—with deep expertise in Epic.
If you’re planning to implement the Epic EHR application, or are determining whether this is right for you, we can help. Contact us today and we’ll be happy to chat about your healthcare facility’s goals and how we can help you get there.
We provide Epic consultants, contract to hire professionals, and permanent placements with the niche knowledge and skills you desire—augmenting IT staff for projects of all lengths and complexities.
PRESIDENT/CEO AT HEALTHTECH RESOURCES
Larry has specialized in building strategic healthcare relationships for over 25 years, helping the nation’s top payors and providers solve some of their most pressing business challenges through an intelligent mix of staffing services, training, and consulting.